The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has teamed up with leading hospitality employers to announce the planned creation of 6,000 new jobs for 16- to 24-year olds by the end of the year.
The statement was made ahead of today's Big Hospitality Conversation at London's City Hall, where representatives from more than 100 hospitality businesses will meet and ‘on-the-spot' jobs will be available to young job seekers.
Today's announcement forms part of a wider job creation programme in the hospitality industry, with 300,000 jobs needing to be filled by 2020 to reflect rapid expansion and market demand.
Around 60,000 of these new jobs will be earmarked for 16- to 24-year old as the industry seeks to provide a gateway to tackle long-term youth unemployment.
It is estimated that across the UK there are some 900,000 young people not in education, employment or training and experts have warned that the problem is not improving fast enough despite the economy returning to pre-recession levels.
Despite many young people still being out of work, there are thousands of job vacancies in the hospitality industry and it's this disconnect between jobs on offer and what young people will consider as career options that is causing particular concern for industry experts.
In a bid to combat outdated views towards the industry, renowned restaurateur and chef Brian Turner will be on-hand at today's event to promote hospitality as a career option for young people.
Turner started his career in his father's transport café. He went on to train at Simpson's in the Strand, The Savoy, The Beau Rivage in Lausanne and Claridges, before opening his own restaurants.
He said: "Starting out as a young trainee and learning the ropes from people full of experience is a fantastic way to start your career and it's a real gateway to the world. For anyone who likes working with people and has a strong work ethic, there is no limit to the opportunities available and what's more, it's fun!"
The Big Hospitality Conversation is committed to creating job opportunities for 16-24 year olds and 34,000 jobs have so far been created at events like the one in City Hall. It is a joint initiative between the British Hospitality Association, Springboard, Believe in Young People, Business in the Community, People First, and the DWP.
Tourism Minister Helen Grant said: "The hospitality sector is a thriving and dynamic one that can offer people a fulfilling, challenging career with great opportunities for progression. The Big Hospitality Conversation shows young people the exciting options available to them and will help unearth the sector's leaders of tomorrow."
Ufi Ibrahim, BHA chief executive, said that while hospitality is a successful industry with great growth prospects offering a vast range of job opportunities for all job seekers of any age, there are still widespread misconceptions amongst many outside the industry who don't see the value in hospitality careers.
"We urge young people to look beyond outdated viewpoints and join our industry," she said. "The breadth of job roles and the training available means that bright and focused young people can succeed very quickly. We welcome young people to come along to the event to hear from insiders about how they started out in their careers. At the City Hall event businesses will be offering on the spot job opportunities, so a young job seeker could start the day unemployed and leave with a job. Where, in any other private sector industry, would that happen?"
Patrick Dempsey OBE, chairman of the Big Hospitality Conversation and managing director of Premier Inn, added: "There is a huge pool of talent in the 16-24 age group and we are committed to helping raise awareness amongst young people that are unemployed, not in education or training, offering significant opportunities for them to join and develop their careers within the hospitality industry.
"We will train young people, provide them with qualifications and long-term prospects within a sustainable and thriving industry."